Over the last month or so I’ve had the opportunity to play a further four missions of Doom, with myself as Invader versus three marines in each case, and thought it worth sharing some thoughts on the game as we continue to play.
I won’t speak too much to this mission (mostly as I’ve misplaced my notes…), as there is significant imbalance acknowledged by the design team (see here on the Board Game Geek forums). I think I managed to eke out a frag this mission, but for the most part, the Marines were comfortably in control. I’d be interested to see what future errata/FAQ does to address this position and think if we restart we’ll probably up the difficulty for the Marines by removing some of the health and upgrades from the map.
This turned out to be a very frustrating mission for me, as my models were getting cleared as fast as I placed them! I made a key mistake early on by spawning from the portals closest to the Marines starting location, which allowed them to work their way through my initial wave efficiently. If we were to play over, I would start by spawning in two of the more far flung portals and force the Marines to waste turns moving towards said Invaders and the objectives.
Having said that, Charlie Marine picked up the chainsaw and rocket launcher, which in conjunction with Taking Point, allowed him to frag a Baron of Hell, Mancubus and two possessed soldiers in one turn before they got to activate. Needless to say that took the wind out of my sails considerably, especially as they’d just spawned so I had limited options for model positioning.
Another key lesson for me this mission was where I launched a massive attack from a Cacodemon, using a couple of event cards, on one marine generating nine wounds, with a dodge card flipped for defence. Very important to generate stun effects prior to launching these sort of attacks…
The Marines won this mission comfortably, and I struggled to get the one or two frags I ultimately achieved.
After taking two drubbings in a row, I resorted to the internet, and spent some time watching and reading about the game and potential Invader strategies. I discovered as part of this we’d being playing a few things wrong, including, notably, that I hadn’t been reading the argent energy generation rules correctly (I thought you discarded three cards for one energy).
The key changes to my tactics in this mission were to be more aware of positioning to mitigate the chainsaw’s impact on the game, as well as summoning from portals further away from the action to build a critical mass before shooting in to finish off marines. Additionally, the cards suggested for the mission also seemed to synergise better than the prior couple of missions (not sure if this is the case, or if I just had a better appreciation of how to combo them).
The Marines made it through two of the three gore nests, and midway through the mission I felt like I was running out of steam as my threat dried up after a couple of big spawns which prompted me to re-read the card and discover I shouldn’t have been removing the portals! So despite knowing I hadn’t read rules properly heading in to this mission I still misread a key piece of the card.
The BFG got a run this game as well, and when it was first fired I initially thought ‘this is broken’ as it cleared a considerable amount of my models. Once I thought it through though, it really balances out needing two cards to fire it, as you effectively get one shot when you first pick it up, but then it becomes more difficult to draw into as the BFG cards are shuffled through your deck. Pretty cool weapon and certainly dishes out some pain!
This mission felt a lot more balanced and took a lot of thought and some good luck on my part to generate the six frags I got to win the mission. Even though I won, it wasn’t a runaway with the Marines quite well positioned to go hunting the last gore nest as I claimed the last frag.
This was the closest mission to date, and showed just how balanced the game could be. The game came down to the last dice roll, with me gaining the sixth frag just before the end of the round, when the Marines would have moved the drone onto the survey area and won. I think I made a few mistakes over the course of the game, especially in managing my threat tokens, but was able to pull out the win at the death.
One of the Marine players had drawn the Tactician class card, which allowed him to look at the top two cards in the initiative deck. This nerfed my selection of Blood Rush, which I’d taken purely to get Ambush into my deck and saw multiple turns with all Invader initiative cards on the bottom of the deck. Re-reading the rules, it looks like I select my Event Deck make-up after class cards are drawn, so in future I’ll make sure I check what the Marines have before committing.
My discouragement after the first two missions has abated, having since thought through some mistakes and developing some new tactics to try, and I am keen to keep playing through the first Operation. Despite the balance issues with the initial two missions, I’m enjoying this game immensely, with the theme and game play matching well. The last two missions we’ve played have been very tight, and have swung back and forth as we’ve played.
One final recommendation I’d make is to put on the video game soundtrack whilst you’re playing, it really adds to the atmosphere and you’ll often get some excellent moments where the music and game play line up spectacularly well!